Listen, we’re all just out here trying to do the best we can, for ourselves and for the planet. Figuring out how one can live in a way with the greatest impact (or at least smallest negative impact) on the environment is becoming an increasingly complicated uphill battle. It all kinda feels like that scene in The Good Place where it gets explained that even buying a tomato is supporting bad things because of the pesticides and the unfair labor and the global warming, etc.
We’re all doing our best, but life just keeps throwing us curveballs. Take for instance bamboo cups, surely they are good for the environment, right? WRONG! Turns out some of these “eco-friendly” cups contain a “toxic resin” that may contaminate food and drink.
As reported by the Guardian, despite claims touting eco-friendliness, some bamboo cups are made with a plastic resin known as melamine formaldehyde resin. While seemingly green, these cups aren’t recyclable and there are concerns that the plastic resin can degrade quickly, contaminating the food and/or drink it contains. One test found that, when the bambooware comes in contact with hot liquid, it produces formaldehyde in quantities 30 times the tolerable daily limit for adults and 120 times the limit for small children.
This has led the UK’s Food Standards Agency in June of this year to advise retails to remove them from their shelves, and that “any further sales would be unlawful.” Even Amazon has banned retailers from selling bamboo or melamine cups and tableware.
Still, the claims about the cup’s eco-friendliness has kept them around. Even charity’s like the WWF-UK and Wild Planet Trust both recently had bamboo and melamine cups for sale. Both have since removed the items from their online stores.
It just goes to show, no good deed goes unpunished. You just have to keep doing the best with the information you have at hand and be willing to change course when new evidence comes to light. In the meantime, maybe just carry a nice ceramic mug, perhaps from a dapper shoulder strap. It’ll keep your drink uncontaminated, a cup out of the landfill, and be a real conversation starter.